New vivarium, need help. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
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New vivarium, need help.

I have a ten gallon fish tank i want to turn into an awsome vivarium. I am hoping to put frogs in it, I'm going to catch some little grass frogs or just buy a fire bellied toad. Any way I have a few questions. I already kinda have it set up but with very few questions so I wanted to get some answers before starting major planting. I have about an inch of fish tank gravel at the bottom and then about 3 inches of potting soil on top of that. Is it going to be ok layered like that? What about mold? How can I prevent it and kill it if it happens? Should I have a glass top or a screen lid? Right now I have a screen lid with a peice of plexiglass on top to keep the moisture in. I have two unknow ferns from the greenhouse I work in, they just popped up in some pots and I took them when we were weeding. I also cut out some moss and planted it in a half circle in the corner on a little hill topped with and unmarked plant from walmart. I have one new green earth star in there too. I have a cookie tray from a thing of chocolate chip cookies as a water dish right now, its buried to the top in the soil but I havnt filled it yet. So far every thing looks good but I want advice and ideas to make sure it stays good. Sorry for the long post and all the questions! Thanks every one!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-09-2008, 01:45 AM
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 03:51 AM
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Well, if you have no screening to prevent soil from seeping into the gravel, its all just going to be a big sloppy mess when it gets wet. It also sounds like you're mixing tropical and temperate plants, you need to decide on one or the other, especially in terms of the moss. Also, if you really want to grow plants, straight soil isn't going to fare well, especially in a humid, tropical setup. Oh, and go with the fbt, don't squeeze wild frogs in a 10 gallon tank.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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I understand the screen to seperate the gravel and soil, but what would I use other than soil? And how big should the water area be for fbt, and how deep?
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-16-2008, 02:03 AM
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I personally use an orchid bark mix as the main ingredient in my mix, then add a 100% organic potting soil, coconut or sphagnum peat, charcoal, long fibered sphagnum moss, and some people also use a bit of sand. With all these ingredients you get yourself a mix that will hold water, but wont compact or puddle with water.

As for a water area, I would say size is up to you, as long as it is big enough for them to all sit in it and you can keep the water clean. However, I wouldn't make it deep enough where they can't sit at the bottom of it and still stay above the water to breathe.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-17-2008, 03:10 AM
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i just did a super easy palu by skipping all the "construction" of separating water and land and making a sort of water table instead:

either way you need mold and rot resistant substrates. if it's going to be in direct contact with the water it should be approved for use in aquariums. i used some aquarium sand/gravel for drainage and planting. in the drier spots i used some t-rex jungle bed (a mix of coco bark, coco fiber and sand, it can get wet without problems but should not be submersed and will need to be replaced every once in awhile) like mulch. if your going to use real dirt you need to keep at way away from your water. dirt + water = mud.

if you really want to build a setup so you can use real dirt in the mix (which is better for many plants) you might want to try some of that spray foam stuff to make separate levels and features. that takes more work and planing though.

if i were you, i'd start with some sketches of what you want it to look like. think about what kind of plants you want. then work from there.

Last edited by Chartreuse Boots; 06-17-2008 at 06:10 AM.
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